Dear Team DPS,
Thank you for the care and comfort you’ve provided to each other and to our children and families, especially over the past week.
As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread and impact our community, it’s absolutely essential to support each other and, especially now, to focus on staying home as much as possible.
The message from our health experts is clear: Social distancing will limit the spread of the virus, and it will save lives. For updated guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), click here to read about how to protect yourself and others. And we’ve received this updated guidance today from Dr. Steven Federico, Director of General Pediatrics / School and Community Programs at Denver Health: “Being in close proximity and being together in groups will increase the likelihood of spread. As a result, it is best to keep gatherings to small groups and to avoid anybody who is sick.”
Our state government has banned large gatherings, shut down ski resorts, and imposed serious restrictions to limit social contact in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19. This is a serious public-health threat, and it’s essential for people of all ages to respond with extreme caution and extreme care for each other and our health and wellbeing.
As a result, we are taking the following additional actions:
In following the CDC guidance on high-risk populations, any staff member who is scheduled to report to a work site between now and April 6 and who has concerns about being at higher risk, can contact their HR partner to request an accommodation.
Essential facilities, food services, and security staff should follow the direction of their managers.
School buildings will be open on Monday and Tuesday, March 16 and 17, but only for families to retrieve items they need (medicine, personal items, etc). We ask that only the school’s leadership and minimum, adequate staff report to work to assist families during that time. No other staff is to report in person.
For teachers and SSPs: Monday and Tuesday, March 16 and 17, continue to be self-directed planning days, and teachers are to work from home.
For school leaders and central-based staff: Monday, March 16 through Tuesday, March 31 are work-from-home days (with a small exception for those who will be in schools March 16 and 17). Please check with your supervisor to confirm whether you are expected to work from home and follow their direction on work assignments. All district office buildings will be closed those days, with the exception of the Emily Griffith Center, which will be open on Monday and Tuesday, March 16 and 17, only to senior staff and limited security and facilities personnel. It will then be closed completely starting on Wednesday, March 18, except for limited personnel.
School-based Denver Health Clinics: Most of the School-Based Health Center sites, which provide medical care and mental health services, are now closed. Four sites will stay open through March 20. They are: Abraham Lincoln High School, North High School, Place Bridge Academy, The Evie Dennis Campus
Hours will be 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. All centers will be closed starting March 23. When centers are closed, students and families should call the Denver Health Nurse Line at 303-739-1211 for information on how to access care.
Please take care of yourselves and your family and loved ones, particularly those who are at higher risk. And even if you are feeling healthy and are not at higher risk of serious illness from the virus, please stay home as much as possible. Health experts have emphasized that even people who feel healthy can be carriers of the virus and are putting others at risk by not social distancing.
I know we are all thinking of our children and families and are looking for ways to help. Along with the City of Denver, we are running Grab-and-Go Meal Centers throughout the city for the next three weeks. Our Food Services Team will provide grab-and-go breakfast and lunch at these sites, and the City of Denver is providing grab-and-go dinners at these sites. We are so thankful for the offers from Team DPS members to volunteer and help staff these meal centers, but we are restricting the staffing to minimum, adequate personnel in an effort to support and enhance social distancing.
I know we are also grateful to and thinking of the community members who are working to help us through this public-health crisis. Together with the Denver Public Schools Foundation, we have set up a special fund for donations that will provide meals for adults in need during the week and family meals on the weekends. Please click here if you’d like to make a donation to DPS Foundation’s Food Security Fund.
We will continue to provide you with updates. Please call the Family and Community Engagement Helpline at 720-423-3054 or email FACEhelpline@dpsk12.org, which will be answered 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, or email CoronavirusInfo@dpsk12.org and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.
Please take care of yourselves and your loved ones. And please stay home as much as possible. We need to take extreme caution in working together, while we’re apart, to limit the danger of this very serious public-health threat.